On October 5th, this newest version will begin coming pre-loaded on new PCs and, much like Windows 10 was for Windows 7 and 8 PCs, it will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 10 PCs. You may not see this update on your PC immediately, since Microsoft usually chooses chunks of devices to roll these major feature and version updates out to in phases. It’s also possible that your IT department or provider may have blocked the update from applying—just to avoid any unexpected incompatibilities from an unforeseen auto-update!
The increase in system requirements from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is a much steeper change that previous version updates. While Windows 10 was able to run on a huge variety of machines, Windows 11 has a much smaller range of machines it can run on. This is mostly due to the security features it requires to be available and enabled on the machine’s processor. In most cases, this means that if your machine wasn’t purchased brand new in the past three or four years, it will not be able to run Windows 11.
If your machine can run Windows 11, then the first question will usually be this: “What’s new with Windows 11?” Microsoft has published a list of features in their release date blog here.
Many of these features are aesthetic or interface focused, and historically, any of those types of changes for Windows tend to be pretty poorly received! We all get used to the precise locations and functions of buttons and apps on the PCs we use every single day, so even a minor change can be a major inconvenience! In this case, the movement of the start menu to the center of the taskbar by default can be changed and isn’t a huge grievance, but one example of a minor change with a major impact is that Windows 11 will automatically combine all windows of the same application into a single icon and not show the name. In previous versions this was an optional choice, and you could change it to meet your needs. In Windows 11, there was no alternative in the beta builds.
One of the much-touted user-facing features is the ability to install and use Android apps on Windows 11 via the Amazon AppStore. It’s important to note, though, that this feature is not available upon the release of Windows 11 and is scheduled to begin testing in the coming months, so it may be deep into 2022 before that feature reaches the public!
The other major concern with a whole new version of Windows is whether your apps will continue to work. If you’re only using Microsoft applications (Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, et cetera) and web applications, your applications likely won’t be impacted by the upgrade. If you’re using anything else, it’s crucial to check all of your application vendors’ documentation to be sure. Sage, for example, does not have Windows 11 listed on any of their Supported Platform Matrices. If you do decide to upgrade but find out that one or more of your applications aren’t compatible, there is a built-in option to roll back to Windows 10. It’s possible you may need to reinstall/repair some applications after the rollback, but it should get you back in working order.
With all of that in mind, the best approach for many businesses will be “wait and see.” While there are many improvements in the newest version of Windows, a vast majority of them are incredibly subtle or changes to the interface that may actually be a negative for some users. While it’s usually fun to have the latest and greatest, it’s less fun when it makes it difficult to do the things you need to get done!
If you’re a Bennett/Porter Managed Services client, we’ve pushed a change to all of our managed machines to block Windows 11 for the time being, so you don’t have to worry about coming in to work one morning to find everything changed and your applications no longer functioning because of an unexpected OS upgrade! As applications are updated to be compatible and bugs are smoothed out—or if your business has a pressing need for Windows 11—we’ll remove this block and assist with upgrades in phases.